Hospital ranks and measures: Medical Tourism edition?

It looks like Consumer Reports is the newest group to add their two cent’s worth about hospital safety, and hospital safety ratings.  The magazine has compiled their own listing and ratings for over 1,100 American hospitals.  Surprisingly, just 158 received sixty or greater points (out of a 100 possible.)  This comes on the heels of the most recent release of the LeapFrog results.  (Leapfrog is controversial within American healthcare due to the unequal weight it gives to many of its criterion.  For example, it is heavily weighed in favor of very large institutions versus small facilities with similar outcomes.)

Consumer Reports has a history providing consumers with independent evaluations and critiques of market products from cars to toasters since it’s inception in the 1930’s.  It’s advent into healthcare is welcome, as the USA embraces new challenges with ObamaCare, mandated EMRs, and pay-for-performance.

While there is no perfect system, it remains critical to measure outcomes and performances on both an individual (physician) and facility wide scale.  That’s why I say; the more scales, scoring systems and measures used to evaluate these issues – the better chance we have to accurately capture this information.

But – with all of the increased scrutiny of American hospitals, can more further investigation into the practices and safety at facilities promoting medical tourism overseas be far behind?

Now it looks like James Goldberg, a bioengineer that we talked about before, is going to be doing just that.  Mr. Goldberg, who is also an author of the topic of medical tourism safety recently announced that his firm will begin offering consulting services to consumers interested in knowing more about medical tourism – and making educated decisions to find the most qualified doctors and hospitals when traveling for care.  He may be one of the first to address this in the medical tourism industry, but you can bet that he won’t be the last..

If so, the winners in the international edition will be the providers and facilities that embrace transparency and accountability from the very beginning.

The dangers of Medical Tourism

A new press release from a law office in the United States – highlights the importance of what I do – and why I think it is a necessary and essential endeavor.  The author, James Goldberg has also written a book about the potential dangers of medical tourism due to a lack of regulation among brokers who are just looking for the cheapest providers (for higher profit margins).  As we all know – that’s not the right way to chose a surgeon (and it’s not fair to consumers who trust brokers to deliver high quality care.)

I just ordered it – so I’ll give a full ‘book report’ once it arrives.

Unfortunately, the more I continue on in my efforts to provide unbiased and object reviews, the more I become disheartened by the lack of interest on the part of the medical tourism industry itself.  For the most part, these travel agencies are just that – and hold themselves to no higher ethical or moral standards that the travel agencies of old – except now we are talking about more than missed flights or less than stellar hotel rooms.

The response from the surgeons themselves has been (for the most part) enthusiastic about being reviewed, but until consumers hold the vendors of these services to a higher standard – it will never happen on any sort of global scale.

For the time being – it looks like it’s just me – and my dwindling retirement fund.